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A quickie (review, that is): lunch at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Aside from the 30-days leading up to my reservation, I had been looking forward to Sunday for years.  I wanted my first lunch experience at Dan Barber's Blue Hill Stone Barns to be accompanied by none other than my parents and dear childhood friend, Shelley.  Having been upstate a handful of times, I've always found myself mesmerized by its natural beauty and serenity.  Since Mom and Dad were such urban haters, I figured that a trip to a rural farm-located only 35 miles outside of Manhattan-just may change their jaded assumption that NYC is NY State.

From the minute our train sprung above ground in Harlem, my parents were fixated on all of the sights beyond their window.  As our journey brought us closer to Tarrytown and further from NYC-revealing more trees and less buildings-I couldn't help but grin as I heard my mom telling my dad "how beautiful the scenery is."  When we arrived at the Tarrytown stop, we hopped in to a cab for the 10-15 minute drive to Blue Hill Stone Barns.  Our driver, Nacho, could not have been more helpful or courteous.  He handed us his card and offered to pick us up after our meal, so long as we gave him a 15-minute head's up.  (Readers: take this gentleman's information.  The next time you find yourself en-route to/from Blue Hill Stone Barns, "Nacho" is the best-and inexpensive, to boot-ride in town: 914-227-5580)

With 20-minutes to spare upon arrival, the four of us walked through the property's expansive, emerald-green gardens and farmland.  We visited the gift shop and the small cafe, where I purchased two jars of homemade jam and a fresh cheddar-chive scone.  Finally, at 11:30am, we made our way towards the restaurant for our lunch reservation.

Before I proceed with my photo documentary of this meal, I must say that my lunch at Blue Hill Stone Barns was, without a doubt in my mind, the best restaurant-dining experience of my entire life.  From the breathable/non-stuffy space (informally-sophisticated - tall, vaulted ceilings with exposed steel beams - white-washed walls - dark-wood paned windows which allowed for breathtaking farm views - fresh flowers throughout - a market table in the center of the dining room - and lots of, well, space!), outstanding service performed by knowledgeable and attentive staff, and the exquisite, simple food (only a genius can make vegetables taste this good!), I left my heart at Blue Hill.

I don't say this often-perhaps I've never even uttered these words on my website-but Blue Hill Stone Barns is an absolute "must."

Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): Shelley and I Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): one of the buildings on propertyBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): garden in front of the gift shopBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): close-up garden shotBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): chicken coopBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): lambs...boy, these guys make some funny noises!Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): pig penBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): interior restaurant space, market table and magenta flowersBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): warm, freshly-baked potato-onion bread, served with a side of farm butterBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): citrus palate cleanserBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): freshly-picked, mini root-vegetable sampler, including lightly-salted carrots and radishesBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): asparagus spear wrapped with cured ham and rolled in sesame seedsBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): chopped asparagus "burger"Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): toast-point topped with goat cheese, fiddlehead ferns, and edible flowersBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): a play on "ham and eggs" - a slice of house-cured ham envelopes a rectangular cut of egg souffleBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): goat cheese rollupsBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): asparagus salad topped with preserved egg yolk & edible flowersBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): soft-boiled farm egg topped with an egg-white shellBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): sliced Berkshire pork medallions atop grainsBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): a play on bread pudding - airy fromage blanc rolled in buttery bread crumbs, served with fruit compote and yogurt sorbet

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